Tucked away in a corner of Sheffield’s cultural industries quarter, right next to Jaywing’s Albert Works HQ, lies a green oasis. The Porter Brook is a ‘pocket park’ – a small amphitheatre, sloping down to the banks of the river Porter, where wild trout spawn in spring and people picnic and paddle. It’s a beautiful spot and since moving in, we’ve been doing our bit to ensure it stays that way.
Two years ago, the pocket park did not exist. There was just a crumbling car park with the river Porter nowhere to be seen. Like many UK cities, Sheffield is built around a network of rivers that first attracted settlers half a millennium ago. Not that you would know it now; Sheffield’s watery roots are largely invisible, spending most of their urban life underground.
The success of uncovering Porter Brook is the first step in a new project to bring back Sheffield’s lost urban rivers. Known as ‘daylighting’, it’s part of a broader global movement towards rediscovering urban rivers in cities worldwide to help combat climate change and offer benefits in terms of flood protection – which Sheffield has increasingly suffered from in recent years.
Our thanks to Don Catchment Rivers Trust, Sheffield Council and all the volunteers who turned out yesterday to help us on a very cold, but very productive afternoon! We hope that in some small way, by cleaning up litter and debris from the river and helping with general habitat improvement, we can do our bit to ensure that wildlife continues to prosper and people can continue to enjoy the pocket park environment as much as we enjoy having it on our doorstep!